Friday, December 05, 2008

Causes For The Decline of Confession.

Much has been written about the precipitous decline in the use of the Sacrament of Confession over the last forty years. Chief among the causes is, of course, the loss of a sense of sin. After all if we are all good people, just human after all, then what do we need to confess? Also, there is the lack of preaching and catechesis on the sacrament. Then there are the defects in the practice of the sacrament. Among these are the illegitimate use of General Absolution, the poverty of regularly scheduled opportunities for the sacrament, reliance on seasonal communal penance services, and the abysmal and nigh unworkable modern rite. Plenty of blame to go around.

I would add another causes, really a contributing reason for minimalism in scheduling, Saturday evening Vigil Masses. In the old days, Saturday afternoons and evenings were devoted to hearing Confessions. However, with the advent of the Saturday vigil Mass, this was not the case; a Mass needed to be celebrated and prepared for. Confession got squeezed out and unnecessarily so.

There are few reasons for Saturday vigil Masses and many for suppressing the practice. What began as an outreach for people who could not attend Mass on Sunday morning has become a convenience for people who like to sleep in. Further, it is destructive to the special nature of Sunday. It is much better to have a Sunday evening Mass if an evening Mass must be said.
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